David Mallett ‘keeps reaching out to touch the past to connect it with what’s going on now’

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BATH -Folk artist David Mallett, whose songs have received international acclaim, will return to The Chocolate Church Arts Center Saturday, Feb. 10.

Life in an out-of-the-way place carries universal import, and people everywhere seem to understand what David Mallett’s songs are about. Although they are rooted in place, they speak to the essential things that move us all. If you grow up in a small rural town, as Mallett did, you can’t help but learn its stories. He knows about the people who shouldn’t have stayed, but did, and those who shouldn’t have left, but did.

Raised in a musical family, he was touring with his older brother Neil by age 10, singing at Grange halls and county fairs. In his early 20s, he started his solo career, writing his own songs and eventually performing them across the United States, Canada and Europe.

His song “Garden Song,”has been translated into several languages and is one of America’s most popular folk songs. Other singers who have recorded Mallett’s songs include Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Hal Ketchum, Pete Seeger and even the Muppets.

Mallett’s songs are filled with passion, evocative imagery, and a sense of the inevitable passage of time. The loss of American towns and rural landscapes is the subject of many of his music, as are the issues of wilderness preservation and the struggle of the common man.

When he is not touring, he writes songs in a room in an old farmhouse with a view across the field and a tintype of his great-great grandfather on the wall.

“I like to keep reaching out to touch the past,” he says, “to connect it with what’s going on now. To me, music is one of the few things that is timeless … human emotion is

“Midnight on the Water” is Mallett’s most recent work. The album was recorded live at a series of shows along the Maine coast in the summer of 2005. It contains 17 of the most memorable songs of his 30-year career.

The album features The Mallett Band, a trio usually heard only in Maine – Mallett on vocals, guitar and harmonica; Mike Burd on bass, and Susan Crippen on violin and viola. A subtle blending of bass, violin and viola creates an understated complement to the mature voice of one of America’s most unique and consistent singer songwriters.

Mallett’s most recent honor comes from the readers of FOLKWAX, who voted him 2003 Artist of the Year and “Artist in Me” 2003 Album of the Year.

Mallett will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, $18-$22, may be purchased by calling The Chocolate Church Arts Center at 442-8455. The center is at 798 Washington St.

For more information about The Chocolate Church Arts Center’s upcoming events, visit its Web site, chocolatechurcharts.org.

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